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6 year old can't/won't get to sleep... hysterical...WWYD?

(76 Posts)
witsender Mon 29-May-17 20:39:21

Our 6 yr old is going through a spate of struggling at bedtime. Perfectly happy until the moment of separation and then tearful, says she is lonely etc. This quickly reaches hysteria if no-one stays, and she is as stubborn as they come so will continue if left.

I don't know what route to take... accept that this a phase, only made into a big deal if we make it one (thereby leading to anxiety around bedtime) or go harder line and leave her to it.

Dh favours the latter route, and has been firm with her and insists that if I stay downstairs she will get past it. So we are trying it, and tonight has been half an hour of sobbing and crying my name. He has been going up every 10 mins or so to reassure her etc.

I am at a bit of a loss tbh!

Creamdonuts Mon 29-May-17 20:41:43

How is she going into school / separating from you at different times other than bed?

ludothedog Mon 29-May-17 20:42:50

what is your bedtime routine like? Are you still doing bath, story and then bed?

If she is anxious then the hard line route won't work, you need to do the opposite, give her lots of attention and stay with her. If it is just a phase then you should be out of it soon.

SoyUnPerdedor2 Mon 29-May-17 20:43:22

Find an old t shirt of yours.
Wash it. Wear it. Make it smell of you.
Your perfume. Deodorant.
Give her this to sleep with.

Bit late for tonight, sorry.

Tonight I would promise to check on her every 10 or 15 mins. If she has a clock in her room? And can tell the time?

witsender Mon 29-May-17 20:43:48

Impossible, she can't be away from a family member full stop really. She will stay with grandparents of course but that's it really.

witsender Mon 29-May-17 20:44:53

Dh just went up and cuddled her again and she has fallen asleep. As they get older the challenges don't go do they, they just get more complex!

Fairybella Mon 29-May-17 20:45:30

What does she say is the reason for the crying

kaytee87 Mon 29-May-17 20:48:22

Is there something going on in her life at the moment that would cause this? I would ask her when she's calm and you're having a nice day out together.
If she's hysterical then I can't see it would do any harm giving her a cuddle. Seems almost cruel to let her cry like that tbh. She's not asking for chocolate cake or Tv at bed time, just a little comfort.
Why is dh allowed to go up and not you?

witsender Mon 29-May-17 20:49:53

That she gets lonely, poor little love.

She isn't the most secure of kids in a lot of ways, despite being confident on the surface and loved and supported in every way. Always has been. She's a puzzle.

Teardropexplodes Mon 29-May-17 20:50:30

Is she anxious or playing up? If it's the latter, then popping in every 10 mins will fuel her fire, but if she's anxious, I guess you need to get to the bottom of why.
My son gets lonely. We get round it with audiobooks. If he's really struggling I let him sleep in my bed (I'm downstairs watching TV) then sleepwalk him back when I want to go to bed.
He has ASD but I think the same strategy is worth trying with a NT child who is anxious.

kaytee87 Mon 29-May-17 20:51:24

Well I get lonely at bed time too and prefer my husband to be there.
If you think she's not just at it to stay up later then go ahead and cuddle her, read her a story & stay with her. She's only 6, in 10 years she'll probably be locking you out her room wink

totaldiva Mon 29-May-17 20:51:51

I've got a 5 year old who went through similar this year. I just comforted her, we all go through periods of worry and anxiety. We also introduced a night light she could keep on. She came through it, I'm sure they'll be other times but I just comforted her.

MorrisZapp Mon 29-May-17 20:52:33

My DS is a strong and confident six year old who has never fallen asleep alone. He just won't. Any attempt to encourage him just ends in him back through in the living room with us. We take heart that most teenagers don't want to cuddle their mums as they fall asleep.

witsender Mon 29-May-17 20:52:38

Because she wants me Kaytee... mainly because I am much softer and easier to get around than he is. So historically I will always 'give in', to most things. So the crying for me is just that she wants someone, but I am the most likely to melt first.

ThistleofIona Mon 29-May-17 20:53:27

Just go with it. She needs you at the moment.smile

kaytee87 Mon 29-May-17 20:54:44

I'm a softy too op. I think giving a child comfort they are asking for is never going to do them any harm and usually makes you feel better too.

CaulkheadUpNorf Mon 29-May-17 20:54:45

I would check out the loneliness with her. Does she think you're having fun without her downstairs, is she worried that one day you or DH won't be there, that sort of thing

steppemum Mon 29-May-17 20:55:21

I would second the Tshirt thing. Transition objects can work really well, does she have a bedtime teddy?

SleepWhatSleep1 Mon 29-May-17 20:56:12

My ASD dd1 gets very anxious and quickly hysterical at bedtime if she doesn't sleep quickly.
We read her a story in bed, then she is allowed to read some more to herself for a bit while we gets her younger siblings to bed. Once it's time for lights out one of us will sit reading on the landing between bedrooms until she's asleep. If she still can't sleep she's allowed to read again for a further 10 minutes before trying to sleep again while we sit on the landing outside her open door. And again if necessary.
On a bad night she's allowed to bedshare.
She also has a night light.

SmileEachDay Mon 29-May-17 20:56:18

Cuddle her if she needs it.

I wish I'd cuddled my children les. Said no one, ever

SleepWhatSleep1 Mon 29-May-17 20:57:05

My dd1 is 5 incidentally.

teapotter Mon 29-May-17 20:58:11

I'm currently siting just outside my ds's room with the door open. I know if I leave for long ds4 will kick off and he's also very stubborn. Ds7 is okish as long as his brother is there. My DH is like yours and wants me to leave them. But I'm not convinced it helps in the long run, having read up about it. We have tried but it got hysterical and took hours every night.

We have moved gradually from sitting on the bed, to doing chores upstairs (sorting clothes) so going in and out. Now I leave to sort something downstairs and say I'll check back in 5, keep repeating, and always do come back. Sometimes we regress but it is improving and they don't associate bedtime with tears. I think I've convinced DH that slow and gentle is better than cold turkey for our kids, or rather he's convinced himself as even he is less stubborn than our hysterical son!

Good luck

Fairybella Mon 29-May-17 20:58:19

Have you tried a night light a comfort toy?
We had worry dolls/ special toys/ bribes and cuddles. We also had a toy lioness as they protect their young like you would and it will keep her safe and company when you can't.
We did the shout up the stairs "I'm still here, your are safe and we love you".
Check she isn't sayin lonely instead of afraid ie the dark, nightmares etc

witsender Mon 29-May-17 20:58:36

We are totally happy for either of them to join us in the night when they want to, and they often do. Normally if she does this I go and kiss her and sit on her bottom bunk while she goes to sleep up top and that seems to help.

We have #3 due in October which she is very excited about, and I think dh is worried that come Oct we will be struggling with a newborn and her as well in the evening. My gut says that this is a phase, and to roll with it while she settles as turning it into a battle will make it worse.

witsender Mon 29-May-17 21:00:45

Funnily enough she was fine at bedtime up until this week or last. We co-slept until she was about 18 months at which point she happily moved into her own bed and bar the odd bit of faffing here and there she has gone to sleep happily and quickly.

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